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Divergent star Shailene Woodley is about to become the face of a major YA franchise, perhaps the largest since Kristen Stewart led the Twilight series, or Jennifer Lawrence launched the Hunger Games. Some, in the media, have gone so far as to put all their chips on the table and proclaim Woodley the "next" Lawrence… as if actors have to quickly fit a mold already established by a rival personality. Sad. Anyway, it makes sense that a sensible, headstrong actress like Woodley would assess the state of YA adaptations as her own movie approaches and comment on the films that blazed a trail before her. Except when asked, Woodley explains that she hasn’t always liked what she saw, and she thinks Hollywood can send better messages to the target teen audience.
Good for Woodley for taking such a stance.
While speaking with Teen Vogue (via E! Online), Woodley spoke about the relationship on display in the Twilight saga and pointed out, correctly, that the series promoted a damaged, potentially damaging relationship:
"Twilight, I'm sorry, is about a very unhealthy, toxic relationship. She falls in love with this guy and the second he leaves her, her life is over and she's going to kill herself! What message are we sending to young people? That is not going to help this world evolve."
I’m unfamiliar with the world of Divergent, and look forward to figuring out more about the relationship forged between Woodley’s heroic character, Tris, and Tobias "Four" Eaton, played by Theo James in the upcoming Divergent adaptation. Woodley’s putting herself on the line a bit by calling Twilight on the carpet for handling teen relationships the wrong way. Of all the criticisms I’d hurl at the Twilight saga, the "treatment" of a proper relationship between an impressionable emo girl and a sparkly vampire would rank near the bottom of a Top 10 list… but yeah, I completely can see where Woodley would say that Twilight didn’t concern itself with portraying that type of love properly.
Woodley knows what she’s talking about from this perspective, though. She contributed to one of the most credible, thoughtful, emotional and honest depictions of difficult love last year in The Spectacular Now (which also starred Divergent cast member Miles Teller).
And her resume includes the fantastically tragic The Fault in Our Stars, due to reach theaters on June 6:
Perhaps her work on these authentic teen romances soured her on the Twilight series. Hopefully Divergent preaches the proper messages that help empower teenagers, who really could use more on-screen role models. Here’s our latest Divergent clip. Are you getting excited for Neil Burger’s adaptation? It opens everywhere on March 21.